After months of waiting, the first trailer for Avengers: Infinity War is here, and it certainly is a doozy. There’s plenty for fans to like, from the return of Alan Silvestri’s iconic theme to seeing our favorite superheroes finally meet and interact with one another. But of course, the real hook of the film is that Thanos, the Mad Titan, is on the hunt for the Infinity Stones. The powerful artifacts that have defined several films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have all been desired by this guy, popping up in previous films and always leading to trouble. (Just ask the Guardians, keeping their hands on that one was not an easy gig.) We’re all well aware of where five of the six Stones are. Previously, they’ve appeared in both Avengers movies (Mind & Space), Thor: The Dark World (Reality), Doctor Strange (Time), and Guardians of the Galaxy (Power).
The one Stone we’re unaware of is the Soul Stone, colored orange, which in the comics grants the user the ability to steal, control, and manipulate living and dead souls, plus serves as a gateway to a pocket universe. At full power, you could use the Soul Stone to straight up control all life in the universe. Kevin Feige promised that the Soul Stone would show up “sometime” in a Phase Three film, but so far, none of the ones released have actually shown it. But there’s one other film for it to take place in, and unless Infinity War opens with Thanos stealing it from another location, that would be none other than February’s Black Panther.
It would certainly track; before Infinity War arrives in May, Black Panther will be the final Phase 3 film where the Earth isn’t in complete danger. Not only that, but it would serve as a neat justification for the Djalia, best known in comics as the plane of Wakandan memory and history. First appearing in the second issue of the current Black Panther comic, it’s best to think of it as a literal trip down memory lane that exists completely outside of time and space. Through there, the entire history of Wakanda and its people lives. If you’ve seen the most recent trailer for the film, you’re aware that T’Challa visits some kind of ethereal plane bathed in purple lighting–that is what the Djalia may end up being.
Wakanda has always been a nation that’s prided itself on its secrecy. It’s what’s allowed them to thrive for so long, thanks in part to their powerful mineral known as Vibranium that’s led to their technological advancement without being attacked by colonizers. Such greatness from Wakanda has earned it the iconic nickname of the Golden City, but what if that naming is more literal than we think? If the Soul Stone is orange in the films as it is in the comics (and orange isn’t that far off from gold), it would be more than fitting.
With the exception of the Power Stone in Guardians of the Galaxy, each of the Infinity Stones have first been found on Earth, and very clearly been there for a long time. Since the Space Stone found its way to England and the Time Stone is in Nepal, it wouldn’t be out of the question for the Soul Stone to have been in Wakanda. From there, the story of Wakanda practically writes itself–the first Wakandans learn of its soul manipulating powers and opt to use it to preserve their very extensive history, in a way that likely also allows for a living Black Panther to talk with deceased Panthers of a past, who represent the “history” of Wakanda. If Vibranium’s power wasn’t worth keeping secret from power hungry colonizers, the existence of a powerful Stone certainly would be.
But secrets don’t stay hidden for long, as the heroes of the MCU have learned time and time again. Thanos is not stupid and has clearly been paying attention to all the rumblings on Earth in the past near decade. He’s obviously aware that Vision holds a Stone on Earth, and one has to imagine that he’s keeping a pretty close eye on Wakanda and their power as well. The only way to truly respond, especially after having been denied so many times, is to respond with an all out assault, which looks to be what we’re getting. For his part, Black Panther is not Loki and won’t submit that Stone without a hell of a fight. The Wakandan army is certainly powerful and could probably even take on Thanos’ Black Order without much trouble, but help is always welcome. Luckily, he’s also got the Avengers to assist him–including Steve Rogers, Winter Soldier, Hulk, Black Widow, Falcon, Okoye, and War Machine.
In recent comic book history, Wakanda is no stranger to being invaded most infamously having fallen at the hands of Thanos and the Black Order in the middle of 2013’s Infinity event. But the circumstances between Infinity the comic and Infinity War are wildly different here; in the former, its invasion was brought on by a vengeful Namor wanting to ruin T’Challa’s life, leading to the near death of T’Challa’s sister Shuri, the unfortunate victim of a petty rivalry. The results of that invasion led to Wakandan politics getting a huge upheaval in the comics and the country making efforts to preserve its future through the stars.
Here, Wakanda is home to a powerful alien artifact, and if that trailer is anything to go by, Thanos doesn’t care who gets hurt in his pursuit of the Stones. When he gets a hold of that Stone, and he will, it’ll deal a serious blow to Wakanda and its history. The fallout from this is sure to be big for every corner of the MCU going forward, and it’s doubtful that they can just easily bring the Soul Stone back to Wakanda and pretend nothing happened. What is a nation and its people without its history? Could T’Challa view the events of Infinity War as a reason to take his people to space? We don’t know, but one thing is for certain–the Golden City will never be the same.
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War stars Robert Downey Jr., Josh Brolin, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Olsen, Sebastian Stan, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Bettany, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Benedict Wong, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Holland and Anthony Mackie. The film opens May 4, 2018.